Letters

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Letters

posted: 26 March 2008
03:38 pm ET













Political Sense



Thank you for your editorial regarding




Patrick DeWitt,




president of Space Systems/Loral, [“Protectionism Is No Solution,” March 10, page 18],




regarding his request for banning foreign competition by European satellite builders using a Chinese launch vehicle.

The obvious financial advantage of using the Chinese Long March is undeniable; however, its use should be viewed as an opportunity for U.S. technology development. My company, Failure Analysis,




currently is soliciting Space Systems/Loral and other U.S. satellite and launch vehicle builders to explore our technology that promises to lower the cost to produce satellites and launch vehicles far below the cost savings for satellite customers using the Chinese Long March.



In addition, our technology improves the reliability of satellites and launch vehicles, eliminating the roughly




15




percent additional cost of satellite and launch vehicle insurance, and further lowering the price of U.S. satellites below European and all other country satellites.



The control of exporting U.S. satellites to China was not a business decision by the U.S. government, but a political one. In World War I and World War II, European nations were attacked by neighboring countries using weapons they sold them. European nations continue to do the same thing today. There is a cultural denial in Europe that selling weapons to your enemies is a bad idea. The U.S. military (not U.S. business) recognizes that selling weapons to our enemy,




which may be used




one day soon to attack the United States




, is political disaster.

It is true that our enemies can purchase most U.S. weapons and equipment or similar ones from European or other countries. U.S.


businessmen argue that it makes no sense to ban the sale of U.S.-produced weapons to our enemies since they can buy them from European nations anyway. However, businessmen argue this demonstrates the same short-sightedness that European nations suffered from in World War I and World War II. Businessmen do not run the United States




, politicians who




want




to




be re-elected do. Businessmen need a better argument




for justifying the selling of U.S technology and weapons to our enemies than just saying “other nations do it.” I don’t have one.

The Chinese government is straddling both communism and capitalism. Along with technology development in other areas, China is one of many nations manufacturing weapons for export sales. As a consequence, China appears on the threshold of initiating an unintentional arms race with the United States




. Although very good for the struggling U.S. defense and aerospace industries, an arms race would stall continued U.S. support for China, slowing further advancement of capitalism and possibly stopping technology transfer going on in all other high-tech areas.



Recent press about the substantial commercial and military technology subject to Chinese espionage in the United States




demonstrates that China is serious about gaining U.S. technology at any cost and cannot be ignored. Since U.S. satellite technology is still superior to all other nations, it still makes political (not business) sense to control the export of our satellites to nations that one day soon may be perceived to be our enemy.




Len Losik

President, Failure Analysis

Salinas, Calif.